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Sharks' Kennedy to make season debut vs. Canucks

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com

CANUCKS (9-4-0) at SHARKS (7-4-2)

TV: SN360, CSN-CA

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Tyler Kennedy was activated from injured reserve and will make his season debut Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks at SAP Center.

To make room for Kennedy on their active roster, the Sharks assigned rookie forward Chris Tierney to Worcester of the American Hockey League.

Kennedy, who was sidelined with an upper-body injury, had two goals, one assist and 12 shots over three games with Worcester during a conditioning assignment.

"I'll just try to keep it simple out there, play my position and try and shoot as much as I can," Kennedy said. "It was nice to go down to Worcester and play down there. I think that helps. It's going to be a little quicker here, but I think I'm ready."

The Sharks acquired Kennedy from the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 30, 2013, for a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, but he had a disappointing debut season for San Jose. Kennedy had just four goals and 13 assists in 67 games.

"Last year I learned a lot of lessons, and this year I've kind of tried to (avoid) making the same mistakes," Kennedy said. "I think definitely it's a lot easier. I'm more comfortable."

Tierney had no goals and two assists in 11 games, centering the third line. Veteran James Sheppard will take over that third-line role in the middle of Kennedy and Tomas Hertl. Sheppard centered San Jose's third line late last season and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but missed training camp and the first six regular-season games this year while recovering from offseason knee surgery.

"We think he had his most success in that situation," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Sheppard centering the third line. "He's been able to come back and play some games on the wing, find his game, get his timing back. Didn't have any type of training camp. So tonight we'll play him in that position and see what we get out of that line."

Tierney, who turned 20 in July, made a strong impression during his first stint in the NHL, but McLellan said sending him down "wasn't a tough decision."

"The last thing we need is a 20-year old watching games and not playing," McLellan said. "If I talk about Chris' game, I think he deserved the opportunity to be in the NHL. I think he's a National Hockey League player, but the development process can't get stunted at that age and just have him watch games."

Vancouver forward Alexandre Burrows will return to the lineup after serving a three-game suspension for his hit on the Montreal Canadiens' Alexei Emelin on Oct. 30.

"I'm really excited," Burrows said. "It should be fun. The boys are playing well. It's nice to get back and hopefully contribute tonight."

Burrows will skate on the second line with left wing Chris Higgins and, presumably, center Nick Bonino, a former Sharks prospect. Bonino was not on the ice for the Canucks morning skate.

"I think he's going to be fine," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said of Bonino. "Just more of a maintenance day. We'll see what happens."

Rookie forward Bo Horvat, who made his debut Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche, is expected to be a healthy scratch for the Canucks, who finish their four-game road trip with games against San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

"It's a tough trip," Desjardins said. "These are three real good teams. Everybody knows that. They've been three good teams for a long time. It's tough, but it's a real good test for our team to find out where we're at, just to see where things are."

Here are the projected lineups:

CANUCKS

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Nick Bonino - Alexandre Burrows

Shawn Matthias - Brad Richardson - Zack Kassian

Derek Dorsett - Linden Vey - Jannik Hansen

Kevin Bieksa - Dan Hamhuis

Ryan Stanton - Luca Sbisa

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Ryan Miller

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Bo Horvat, Yannick Weber

Injured: Tom Sestito (groin)

SHARKS

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Matt Nieto

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

Tomas Hertl - James Sheppard - Tyler Kennedy

Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish - Barclay Goodrow

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns

Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Tye McGinn, John Scott, Matt Irwin

Injured: Mike Brown (hand), Raffi Torres (knee)

Status report: Niemi (6-2-1) will make his fifth straight start for the Sharks. … Hannan left the Sharks game Saturday against the New York Islanders late in the first period with an upper-body injury, but he is expected to be in the lineup against Vancouver. … With Bonino missing the morning skate, Horvat skated in his spot on the second line, while Vey centered the fourth line…. Sbisa is back in the lineup after missing the game against Colorado because of an illness.

Who's hot: Wingels leads the Sharks with 48 hits and is tied with Pavelski for the team lead in shots with 47. He has a four-game point streak. … Burns is tied for the League lead for points by a defenseman with 13. … Bonino, who had two goals against Colorado, leads the Canucks with six goals. … Henrik Sedin leads Vancouver with 14 points, one more than Daniel Sedin.

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